Fireworks Safety Key to Fun July Fourth
If you use fireworks, know the rules.
We want everyone to have a safe and happy July Fourth!
“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is by attending a public fireworks display, like the Town of Chapel Hill’s July Fourth Celebration at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium," says Chapel Hill Fire Marshal Tommy Gregory. “Small, consumer fireworks burn at very hot temperatures and can be extremely dangerous with the potential to cause life-changing injuries. If you do use sparklers and other fireworks that are legal in Chapel Hill, do so in a safe place with adequate options to extinguish them.”
If you use fireworks, know the rules
Certain fireworks are illegal to sell or possess in North Carolina. These include firecrackers, ground spinners, bottle rockets, roman candles, and aerial fireworks. Violators of the law face misdemeanor charges punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and/or imprisonment not to exceed six months.
In general, sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks—items that do not explode or are not intended to spin or to leave the ground and fly through the air—are permitted for use in North Carolina. A simple rule of thumb: anything that explodes or is projected into the air is illegal.
The Chapel Hill Fire Department reminds everyone that children under the age of 16 cannot legally buy or use fireworks in North Carolina.
Fireworks that are legal include:
- Snake and glow worms
- Smoke devices consisting of a tube or sphere that produce white or colored smoke
- Trick noisemakers, including party poppers, string poppers and snappers
- Wire sparklers
Consider fireworks safety precautions
- Consider how you will respond to a minor burn or serious burn injury prior to your event. (sparklers can reach 1200 degrees Fahrenheit)
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that in 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
- Never let children ignite fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy for hot embers.
- Wet the ground surrounding your event site prior to igniting the fireworks.
- Follow any instructions on the fireworks exactly.
- Ensure that you back safely away after igniting the firework.
- Never attempt to re-ignite a firework.
- Douse all of the remnants of the fireworks with water when your event is finished.
(Can't view the videos? Visit townofchapelhill.org/Home/Components/News/News/11254/22.)
Additional information can be found at nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/wildfire-and-seasonal-fires/fireworks.
Catch the fireworks show at Kenan Stadium
The Town of Chapel Hill’s annual July Fourth Celebration features a professional fireworks show at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium at dusk with family fun activities beginning at 7 p.m. www.townofchapelhill.org/july4.
Remember your pets
- More pets get lost on July 4 than any other day of the year, according to HomeAgain.
- Be sure your pet is wearing an up-to-date and visible ID tag and rabies tag on his or her collar at all times.
- Take a current photo of your pet, just in case.
- Exercise your pet early in the day before parties begin.
- During cookouts, ask guests to play with your pets away from the flames.
- Keep charcoal, fireworks, sparklers and glow sticks far from curious pets.
- Leave your pet at home with a treat during the fireworks.
- If your pet is afraid of loud noises, leave gentle music playing to cover the fireworks.
- Leave your pet indoors during the fireworks, if possible.
For more safety tips, visit http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/fourth-july-safety-tips.
Staying safe around the grill
Each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. These 8,900 fires caused annual averages of 10 civilian deaths, 160 reported civilian injuries and $118 million in direct property damage.
While nearly half of the people who grill do it year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires followed by May, June and August. Five out of six (83%) grills involved in home fires were fueled by gas while 13% used charcoal or other solid fuel. The leading causes of grill fires were a failure to clean, having the grill too close to something that could catch fire and leaving the grill unattended.
Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area when grilling, and always have a plan to extinguish an unexpected fire.